Organising and recording ideas

Cami_west coast

Basenotes Member
Nov 25, 2020
I find myself now with four notebooks and some post-its here and there and I know there must be a better way of organising my thoughts and ideas. As a naturally non-organised person, perfume making has really kicked me in the behind. Does anyone have a method that works really well for them? Here's what I have ended up with right now, which just feels like too much.

1) A notebook for recording my impressions of individual materials
2) A notebook for formula ideas
3) A notebook for formulas that I test out and my impressions of the formulas
4) A notebook for my calculations

I thought of using the computer for some of these things but I prefer to do it by hand. I'll have an idea (let's say idea A), which I'll write out in notebook 2). Then, when testing out the formula and recording impressions of idea A, I use up a bunch of pages in notebook 3). Then if I want to start working on another idea (idea B); I'll use up a bunch of pages in the same notebook - but when I want to back to idea A, I need to start after my idea B pages and it just feels messy to me to flip through my pages back to A, and then start many pages later working again on A. Does anyone know what I mean? I'm not sure if I'm articulating this well. But anyways, I would so appreciate any ideas on organising ideas, impressions and formulae! Or maybe this is just a messy hobby and I have to accept that!
 

classics4me

always learning--often laughing
Feb 8, 2017
There are some good aps available for free to help--right on your smart phone. I have an android, and I just enter "productivity aps" for suggestions. Guessing apple has plenty of aps too. Or, recording your ideas as they come to you on your phone or a tape recorder?
 

pkiler

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
How many lines do you have in your formulas?

The thing about your method, is that you need brain time to make calculations that could be used elsewhere, plus, if you used my Excel formulation sheet, it calculates for you, AND, it tells you instant percentages. Learning to make perfumes by percentages is extremely important in your learning path.
 

Jolieo

Basenotes Dependent
Feb 18, 2018
I agree that a computer is a better place for composing- but not yet for me-
first - I did the same thing with recording my materials in a book- actually several books-but it became unwieldy to look up- so I have moved to to index cards which works a lot better for me- I have further organized them a-z
synthetics- naturals as separate categories
and I have note cards at the front that have them listed by aroma group eg floral, green , woods etc with the materials in question being able to be classified in multiple cards
what I believe has happened, is my sense of smell is learning, developing at the same time- so the formulas I put together a year ago - aren’t the same learning experience they would be today-
i think notes are important wherever they are- but what I did not do - and Mike pointed out - is date them !! Also I try to keep a vial on the page if the formula worked out - or a copy of the formula attached to the bottle
but truth be told although I like my little frankensteins, they could all be scraped with the only value in learning the mistakes
Once formulas start to work- then recording them becomes much more important- it is the percentages that are key to making things work- so the percentages probably, generally follow a pattern that is observed through recording say on a computer- but even though the mistakes probably follow a pattern too- observing it would take far longer due to the size of the sampling
i find value right now in the repetition of trying to figure out the best way- because my learning process requires a good deal of making it mine
 

ScentAle

Super Member
Oct 26, 2021
I use simple notebooks and pens for the infinite trials and considerations, with different colors for read faster what I search.
Than I use excel files for bigger calculations.

I find very useful to have a space for repetitive (re)consideration, writing in simple terms what I feel smelling it, in different days.
 

Jamesmiju

New member
Jan 24, 2022
I use Google drive.

I create my ideas on the Slides files (powerpoint) so I can type out ideas and input images associated with the idea.

I use excel for formulations and analysis and accords.

It's useful because it's searchable so even if I'm not super organized I can search by text.


I have a folder for notes on tinctures, binary accords, and bases I make as well as material analysis.

If I do paper then I write it down quickly and transfer it to excel in Google drive whenever it is convenient. If I'm too lazy or busy I take a photo of it so I can input it later.
 

xii

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 9, 2015
Adding a different perspective on organising stuff: I haven't ever written any note about blends nor about materials. I keep the formulas in spreadsheets but hardly ever revise them. If I need to reblend something of mine I try by nose and from memory. I'm not sure it works well for me let alone for anyone else. It's just while composing fragrances I mostly sit somewhere with eyes closed or walk or cycle with no access to notes. And that's fun as opposed to actual physical blending which I profoundly despise.
 

mnitabach

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 13, 2020
Adding a different perspective on organising stuff: I haven't ever written any note about blends nor about materials. I keep the formulas in spreadsheets but hardly ever revise them. If I need to reblend something of mine I try by nose and from memory. I'm not sure it works well for me let alone for anyone else. It's just while composing fragrances I mostly sit somewhere with eyes closed or walk or cycle with no access to notes. And that's fun as opposed to actual physical blending which I profoundly despise.
It's a testament to the diversity of viable approaches to perfumery that these described practices & mine are as completely opposite in every way possible.
 

RSG

Basenotes Junkie
Nov 26, 2016
I tried to be organized with a notebook, and I loved popping open the rings, and if I went back to A but was working on D, I'd put them together. Then I lost a bunch of stuff when a sprinkler pipe burst in the basement of a house I was renting. Washed the ink out of the pages. :((

So now it's all on a computer, and I use Microsoft Onenote free account. I'm able to put images, text, and spreadsheets all into one multimedia tab for each new project. Some of these are 30 pages long. It also has a search function, so if I'm interested in material impressions over time, I can find every instance.

When I am ready to mix either a full perfume or trials or accords, I make a layout of what I plan to do and print it out. I use that page directly to make notes and changes. Then when I am done, I go back to the computer and type in whatever relevant info or changes. This is also how I keep track of what I am running out of.
 

jameshillier

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 15, 2020
I use the notes app on my apple devices which are all kept in sync. In a folder called Perfumery, I can create a single note for any idea, note, accord, or … anything! Actual formulas are in spreadsheet files and everything is searchable and accessible on desktop, laptop and mobile devices.
 

Cami_west coast

Basenotes Member
Nov 25, 2020
How many lines do you have in your formulas?

The thing about your method, is that you need brain time to make calculations that could be used elsewhere, plus, if you used my Excel formulation sheet, it calculates for you, AND, it tells you instant percentages. Learning to make perfumes by percentages is extremely important in your learning path.
I usually have up to 15 lines in my formulas... and that is so true. I use a lot of brain time to make calculations and figure out percentages!! I will try your Excel formulation... that's wonderful about instant percentages. That will make life a lot easier... Thank you!
 

Cami_west coast

Basenotes Member
Nov 25, 2020
I agree that a computer is a better place for composing- but not yet for me-
first - I did the same thing with recording my materials in a book- actually several books-but it became unwieldy to look up- so I have moved to to index cards which works a lot better for me- I have further organized them a-z
synthetics- naturals as separate categories
and I have note cards at the front that have them listed by aroma group eg floral, green , woods etc with the materials in question being able to be classified in multiple cards
what I believe has happened, is my sense of smell is learning, developing at the same time- so the formulas I put together a year ago - aren’t the same learning experience they would be today-
i think notes are important wherever they are- but what I did not do - and Mike pointed out - is date them !! Also I try to keep a vial on the page if the formula worked out - or a copy of the formula attached to the bottle
but truth be told although I like my little frankensteins, they could all be scraped with the only value in learning the mistakes
Once formulas start to work- then recording them becomes much more important- it is the percentages that are key to making things work- so the percentages probably, generally follow a pattern that is observed through recording say on a computer- but even though the mistakes probably follow a pattern too- observing it would take far longer due to the size of the sampling
i find value right now in the repetition of trying to figure out the best way- because my learning process requires a good deal of making it mine
I like that idea of index cards!!
 

chyprefresh

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 15, 2018
Windows Notepad is my friend, I have a fragrance DIY parent folder with child folders of trial formulas, accords, books/studies, successful fragrance formulas, GCMS, and other various notes. I can sort through them or organize with one click. The paperwork would be too much for me lol.
 

qwendy

Basenotes Member
Jan 1, 2005
I think your system sounds both intuitive AND organized! Yes Excel is probably better for your formulas, but how about making tabs for the places in the other notebooks (or just stickies) for when you need to go back and forth a lot?
 

Latest News

Top